Risk Factors for Plasmodium falciparum Gametocyte Positivity in a Longitudinal Cohort

By Pierre Bush, PhD Moderator | 18 Nov, 2016

Dear Colleagues,
Here is a fascinating article on the risk factors for Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte positivity (Grange et al., 2015).

Malaria transmission intensity is highly heterogeneous even at a very small scale. Implementing targeted intervention in malaria transmission hotspots offers the potential to reduce the burden of disease both locally and in adjacent areas. Transmission of malaria parasites from man to mosquito requires the production of gametocyte stage parasites. Cluster analysis of a 19-year long cohort study for gametocyte carriage revealed spatially defined gametocyte hotspots that occurred during the time when chloroquine was the drug used for clinical case treatment. In addition to known risk factors for gametocyte carriage, notably young age (<15 years old) and associated with a clinical episode, blood groups B and O increased risk compared to groups A and AB. A hotspot of clinical P. falciparum clinical episodes that overlapped the gametocyte hotspots was also identified. Gametocyte positivity was found to be increased in individuals who had been treated with chloroquine, as opposed to other drug treatment regimens, for a clinical P. falciparum episode up to 30 days previously. It seems likely the hotspots were generated by a vicious circle of ineffective treatment of clinical cases and concomitant gametocyte production in a sub-population characterized by an increased prevalence of all the identified risk factors. While rapid access to treatment with an effective anti-malarial can reduce the duration of gametocyte carriage and onward parasite transmission, localised hotspots represent a challenge to malaria control and eventual eradication.

Attached resource:



Menyanga Abu Replied at 4:34 AM, 19 Nov 2016

Hi Bush,
Many thanks for this resourceful and educative article on malaria infection The unfolding facts about malaria transmission will guide us in developing effective control/elimination strategies.

Pierre Bush, PhD Moderator Replied at 7:30 PM, 19 Nov 2016

You are most welcome. Indeed this is a continuous effort that will culminate in the ultimate elimination of malaria.